The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration Friday cancelled an online webinar on Kashmir to feature a talk by professor and writer Ather Zia which spoke of the “Indian occupation in Kashmir”. The webinar was to be organised by the Centre for Women’s Studies (CWS).
The notice for the webinar to be held at 8.30 pm Friday said: “This talk will draw and build upon ethnography of Resisting Disappearance giving an overview of the historical gendered resistance to Indian occupation in Kashmir. It will discuss the fresh challenges to resistance and dissent in Kashmir post-2019 and how it has affected women and Kashmiris in general.”
‘Resisting Disappearance’ is a book authored by Zia who’s a Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at UNCO Greeley, USA.
In a statement, JNU V-C M Jagadesh Kumar said, “As soon as it came to our notice that an online webinar titled ‘Gendered Resistance and Fresh Challenges in Post-2019 Kashmir’ was to be organised at 8.30 pm by Centre for Women Studies, the administration immediately instructed the faculty member organising the event to cancel it. The programme was cancelled forthwith.”
“The faculty member did not seek permission of the administration before planning such an event… This is a highly objectionable and a provocative subject, which questions the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country. JNU cannot be a platform to this kind of very questionable webinars. The matter is being inquired into,” he said.
The event had created an uproar on social media. The ABVP also burned the webinar poster.
The JNU Teachers’ Forum also tweeted saying it “strongly opposes to such anti-national stand taken by the Centre of Women’s Studies. JNU must take action against those involved in organising it”. It also tagged PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Delhi Police.
In the evening, the Facebook page of CWS put out a one line statement saying, “The talk by Ather Zia scheduled for today has been cancelled. More information will be provided later.”
When contacted, Assistant Professor Navaneetha Mokkil, the event organiser, refused to comment.